Thursday, May 24, 2012

Three Years, Really???

It's been over three years since I last posted, really...???? It's not like I have been in a coma or anything. I have just been reeeeaaallly busy, and use most of my spare time listening to podcasts and rasising kids, which we have 8 now, for college freshman to one year old. So to give a quick summary, the kids are no longer going to the Lutheran School, but we are mostly pleased with the local public school.  Our church, Our Redeemer Lutheran broke from Missouri two or so years ago and is anchored by the best pastor on the planet. I know that sounds over the top so let me put it another way. This man is such a faithful preacher of Christ, that I am almost afraid that the Lord will return with this pastor in our possesion and we, like beggers who found a priceless diamond, could not explain why and so obviously not be able or expected to have something so grand. One of the podcasts I listen to is Fighting For The Faith by Chris Rosenbrough, and have been a crew member (ARRRGGH EY MATEYS) for a while, and that means that I have heard alot of sermons, good and bad, and my pastor's normal sermon slays the best that F4TF puts on. He also catechises my kids, one on one if needed, and provides instruction that would be beneficial to most Lutherans I know.
So to catch up, I am still in the Decatur area, and working for the electric company. The blogs / websites I follow are; Get Religion, Strange Herring (when he posts), Issues etc, Fighting For The Faith. Podcast wise I listen to all of Pirate Christian Radio, and you should to, including Issues!
I am glad that Todd and Jeff landed on their feet. I am also sooo thankful to the Lord God that the LCMS seems to have selected such a wonderful president in pastor Harrison. When I was feeling the worst for the church, God delivers this. Praise be to God in the highest.
I plan on trying to get back into the groove for blogging, and intend to reconnect with the Lutheran blogosphere.
Right now I will start to surf through Aadvarks Alley.
And another thing... make sure you get on Pastor Fisk's YouTube channel. He has got to be the brightest burning star in the Confessional Lutheran galaxy right now, along with Pastor Fienne's Lutheran Sarcasm, it really is toooo funny.
The one blog that I miss, and cant find is the Fireside Chat With The Rector...... Anglican and sorely missed......

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Christian or Christ Follower?

A Fighting for the Faith podcast recently played a section on a Willow Creek seminar. The speaker began with a dissertation on whether churches were making disciples or just more Christians, with the obvious virtue being with disciples rather than Christians. Rosebrough stated that all the pastors there went to lengths to refer to themselves as Christ followers instead of Christians. Obviously they had caught the newest wave of growthism and were riding it for all it was worth. I shared the podcast with my oldest son and we both commented on Rosebrough's clarity of what is at play here by observing that referring to oneself as a follower implies that I am doing something, not just being something. Not more than a week later my oldest son and I were invited to attend a youth camp that St Paul’s, our old church 3 hours away, was having. This gives my son a chance to connect with his grade school chums and usually provides a nice weekend of Christian fellowship while camping. Part of the weekend included the new pastor of St Pauls coming out and spending two hours with the youth discussing Halloween, devils, angels and fear. This was a great interaction between the youth and pastor. Until the end, when pastor asked what the youth wanted and then he proceeded to describe his preferences. This was when he began saying some very familiar stuff, specifically that he doesn’t like to hear from people that say they are a member of this or that church, and did everyone know that even the word Christian is only mentioned three times in the bible. Ya, and he would rather we think of ourselves as Christ followers or disciples, "you know the term disciple is mentioned many times in the bible. At this point one of the boys that is a Latin student supplied the meaning of disciple as being a student or one who learns or studies’ implying that we as disciples should mark ourselves with our study of the Gospel and Holy Scripture. Its so handy to have a bright young Latin scholar around. When the term ‘Christ follower’ appeared my son shot me a glance, and I knew right then that he also realized where this pastor had been, none other than Willi Crick.
When I got home I referred to my Concordia Study Bible and lo and behold Christian is only mentioned 3 times. But you know what 2 of those 3 say? Huh, do ya? 1 Peter 4:16 says "However if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed but praise God that you bear that name". PRAISE GOD THAT YOU BEAR THAT NAME! PRAISE GOD THAT YOU BEAR THAT NAME! Then Acts 11:26 " the disciples were called Christian" my footnote says that the meaning of the term is apt for it means " belonging to Christ". How could anyone look at these references in Holy Scripture regarding the name Christian and discount it based on the quantity. Is it just a clever move to distance modern christianish types from the baggage that they fear the culture sees in the word Christian? Maybe, but its certainly devilish. The word of scripture is absolutely stunning on this one, it nearly institutes the name Christian. At first I thought it to be just a quirky gimmick that the growthers had come up with, after all what does it matter what we call our selves.... As for me, no thanks, I will praise God that I may be known as a Christian, if I had to rely on myself to follow Christ I would be lost in minutes. It is much more comforting to know that we "belong to Christ".
PS Blessed Reformation Day Everyone!

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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Issues etc....Cancelled

So like most confessional bloggers, I emailed, phoned, emailed and phoned again KFUO. Several Board members were able to respond with quick and courteous emails, others not so quick. In particular Mr. D. Strand, the person who has controlling authority in the matter sent out a email basically saying "sorry your disappointed, hope you like the programming we have planned"........ Again, everyone who emailed him got the same form letter. Here is a copy of my follow up.

Your reply to my initial question is as similarly disappointing to your decision to cancel Issues etc.. I have requested details regarding the decision to cancel. The statements posted on KFUO's website stated that it was a programmatic and business decision. To avoid further miscommunication I will be more specific in my request.1) Please outline the business decision that arrived at the cancellation conclusion. This should be rather simple to provide, and would need no farther detail than spreadsheet conclusions, ie cost vs income statistics or scheduling conflicts. All companies typically have this in a formalized document for change management of business decisions.2) Please describe the delta (difference) between programmatic issues that contributed to cancellation of Issues etc. Did this change in programming come from a change in the program or at a higher organizational level at KFUO. Again this data should be readily at hand also since it is a stated reason for cancellation.
This was sent 9 days ago with no answer.
So, the Executive Director for the Board of Communications for the LCMS, cancels a very popular show on the synods radio station, providing no explanation, no forewarning, no plan for replacement programming, then provides a cryptic " canceled for business and programmatic reasons" excuse, then sends out a changed statement that now says "stewardship requires it" since it was a money looser for them.
So lets summarize the Director's performance in this matter. He is responsible for a significant decision in programing for the synods primary electronic medium. He implements a major change that shows, no primary planning, let alone parallel path planning for possible complications. His public communications in the matter is non-exist ant at first, then poor, then inconsistent.
Folks, there's a reason why this guy is doing charity work.(I know, I know, its a paid position, it just looks like he's doing it for free) There is no way this kind of performance would be tolerated at my place of employment. The only way this would be accepted by senior management is if the guy is used as a hatchet man for a poorly performing department that needed a lot of dead wood cut out. Even then the soulless, bottom line company that I work for would not have treated poorly performing workers this way, let alone withhold severance pay until they sign a non-disclosure statement, knowing that Jeff Schwartz's wife is undergoing medical treatment. That level of manipulation is evil. I've known any number of non-believing secularists that would never have considered anything so personally destructive.
I'm currently at a cross-roads. I've found a church with a pastor and congregation that is fed up with Missouri and seriously considering leaving, the paperwork is already drawn up. This church, though small, (about 300) is a wonder of full bore Lutheran confessionalism. The desire of the pastor and elders to cultivate it into a truly orthodox Lutheran church is a wonderful thing to see. I had been arguing contrary to the need to leave the LCMS, I don't think I will do it anymore. If this congregation, absent discussion from me votes to leave, I'm good with that. Part of me wants to stay and become the festering, confessional thorn in the flesh that Missouri deserves though. I want to become active in synodical politics, get sent to conventions and boards, make people uncomfortable with pointed question like "how is this decision
supported in scripture?", severely reduce synodical hierarchy, and loudly vote no.

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Friday, February 08, 2008

Lutheran Schools as Mission.

The new congregation we have joined is one of several that support a local Lutheran LCMS school. I have observed that this congregation seems to be at a point that they no longer wish to be a part of this conglomeration of congregations that support this school. I think that this is a two-fold issue for them. One of the folds is money, the congregation has to obligate for a certain amount based on how many families they have attending. This is a rather small congregation and as such this is a burden at times for them. The second issue I believe is a high level of doctrinal rigor that the school is perceived as not maintaining. Examples include the use of Willowcreek leadership materials for the staff, avoidance of specifically Lutheran Confessional statements and a general softening and mixing of the specific religious claims. I can validate this last one to some extent. When I made the initial call to the office to check on admissions I specifically asked, " Is there an emphasis placed on Lutheran doctrine and tradition?" To which the secretary pleasantly replied " Oh no, that’s never really discussed or study" My disappointment must have been apparent over the phone as she grew quiet and then tried to stammer something out. Clearly, the majority of calls she handles are from non-Lutherans inquiring about the school, as far as I could tell I was the first person who had expressed an interest in the opposite direction. In defense of the school, I am very pleased with the study materials that our kids were first introduced to, including a rather thorough history of Luther and the reformation for the 7th graders. Several obvious Lutheran art objects were also noted in the hallways and a great many of the teachers and staff are from Lutheran backgrounds. Still I feel that the aforementioned congregation probably has some legitimate concerns.
I am more concerned with the congregation having revealed its concerns of heterodoxy in the LCMS to the district. The congregation is signaling that it may be breaking with Missouri and as far as I can tell no one at the District level or higher has attempted to talk to the congregation. Why would that be, can the synod’s leadership no longer defend it’s actions or inactions from the scriptures? If the leadership were certain of its position why wouldn’t it try to correct a potentially wayward congregation? Surely that would be the loving thing to do. It leads me to believe that the district would just as soon not have the trouble that this congregation seems to be causing, based on it’s belief in scripture. An example is one of the other local LCMS congregations having a music service with one of the local charismatic (non-Lutheran charismatic that is) churches. This was brought before the district with the final arbitration being, it wasn’t worship. I’m okay with that, I think we should be finding opportunities to fellowship with other Christians, albeit with a critical eye as to ensuring it not occur in anything that the laity would construe as being Divine Service. I don’t think that level of scrutiny went on though, but hey we got a favorable review in the local newspaper and made it look like we were movers and shakers in the local church scene, how many times can a Missouri church say that, huh?
Enough side tracking, my initial thought though regarding Lutheran schools has been, why do we call them Lutheran if we aren’t’ going to walk the walk? I mean its not like anyone sending there kid there would seriously say, hey I don’t like all this Lutheran reformation talk that goes on! We say were Lutheran, let’s teach it! This line of thinking led me to ponder, why do non Lutherans send there kids to our schools anyway? Is it just because were not the Catholic school down the road. Although for many I do believe this is a big motivator. But many non-Christians also send their kids. I feel they do it because they perceive a better quality environment and scholastics. So in the best of Lutheran traditions I will ask "What does this mean?" It means that many people when given the chance would and do like to have their children associating with all these young Lutheran boys and girls, because they perceive a difference. That difference is the one that believers can present to their neighbors, workers and co-students. Ideally non-believers are attracted to the lives that our children and teachers are presenting as saved, sacramental, scriptural people. Don’t get me wrong, I know first hand that our children and teachers are sinners, and many times display the worst characteristics rather than the righteous ones. The point I’m trying to make I guess is that non-Lutherans may attend our schools and we need to seize that opportunity to proclaim the gospel to them, in the Lutheran tradition. What greater gift can we give these students and their families, than the correct interpretation, the Lutheran interpretation of the gospel? I believe our doctrines to be the clearest understandings regarding the Bible, sacraments, and nature of God. The men and women who established our synod also believed it. Let’s not throw away a golden opportunity that we have to use our schools as witnessing and instructional tools. I think that many times we have started soft-pedaling our doctrine for fear of turning off someone on our school rosters. How can this be, do we believe that our basic doctrine is so terrible that it cannot be presented in full light? If this is the case, how pitiful we have become. We shame the memory of all those 19th century Christians who left home, family and land at great expense to worship as their conscience and understanding of scripture dictated. Let us have but a fraction of that original courage and say, "Yes! We’re Lutheran, and we’d love to teach your children about it!"

Friday, October 12, 2007

Movin Update

Hey All,
Just a quick note. My family and I are moving south. It's part of my job relocation. The good news is that I can now get KFUO on my radio now. How Cool! We are currently looking for a congregation in the area and have the kids enrolled in the local Lutheran School. What a blessing, they even have a Lutheran High School! Thats it for now, my time has been spent driving 5 hours a day for work. The best part is listening to KFUO and then the Albert Moeller (?) program. He's a Southern Baptist and has a very good radion program, although I think it's a copy of Issue's ect. Thats it for now, more when I get settled and dont have to drive so much just to work


Thursday, July 26, 2007

Some Summer

Thought I should see if I still know how to type, so far so good.
Since I last checked in I have change jobs, Monday I start working 2 hours south of where I live. We hope to move inot the area, but with school starting soon, we don't plan on pulling the kids out mid year, so I may be driving for a while.
The pastor of our church made his move earlier this year, having recieved a call from a larger congregation closer to the city. I figured he was going because his sermons just prior to his departure were very Lutheran, in regards to Law and Gospel, staying Christ centered and not having some goofy hook in it. This made it pretty clear to me who in the congregation is most responsible for proper teaching, the elders. As soon as the old Pastor had expectations put on him, in the form of what he expected his new congregation had on preaching the Gospel, he preached as a Lutheran pastor would be expected. Our elders never put that expectation out there.
Our interim pastor seems to be a very good pastor. He's a local who just returned from 2 years of missionary work in Isreal. His sermons are studied, meaning he seems to reference the different interpretations of scripture, and each has had Law and Gospel presented well. He also uses the Liturgy pretty extensively, more so than the congregation was use to. On his first Sunday he kinda ad libed a "peace be with you" at the beginning and the congregation, not being use to this corporate style of greeting barely mumbled a "and also with you" I was so glad to see the new pastor smile and say, "lets try that again, peace be with you" to which even the dullest group could pick up on. He was also involved in the Vacation Bible Study, something we were not accustomed to. I hope he's able to stick around. The call process was described to the congregation and I still am not completely sure of who can and can's be called.
Thats all for now, got to get ready for work.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Good Friday, 2007

Yesterday on Maundy Thursday I was able to get away from work early and join my family at church for evening service. Easily one of the better services. Tonight I wasn't able to get out of work in time, partly because one of the other guys in my area wanted off early to go to Good Friday service. That's what Christians do I hope, help carry one another's burdens at work. This year I'll be able to get to 5am service for Easter, with the rest of the family going at 9am. My job has intensive maintenance schedules every spring, so most of my Easters are messed up with 7 day 13 hour schedules for a month or so. Enough whining, with a little luck something else will come along.
On a different note our current pastor is taking a call to a larger more affluent suburban congregation. One of the things we've noticed is the quality of the service since he decided to go. The sermons stay very classically Lutheran. Law, Gospel, Christ crucified for us, just amazing. More traditional service are also offered with the whole service conducted, not cutting out 30% or more like he use to do. I know why the change, he knows he's going to another congregation that has certain expectations of him. That's when it hit me, our elders where not putting the expectations as to conduct of church services on him, meaning that even though it is some of his doing, the elders must bear the brunt of the past conduct.
Some elders have already stated that the next pastor shouldn't be too young or too old, rather someone around 45, since he would be able to connect with everyone, not just the youth or the elderly. What!! Personally I would like to see us take on a younger guy just out of Sem, preferably even with a young family, but I will be glad for any pastor God should choose to send us. I really feel the Elder that made the statement was simply expressing his desire to have a boomer like himself for a pastor, knowing that he would himself have more in common with him. I mainly would like to see a pastor who is true to the message and rigorous in his application of teaching and doctrine. He doesn't have to be someone that I can personally relate to at my age (also 40ish). Enough for now.